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Solar Return


Athen Chimenti

26 November 2023

The Solar Return

Sun in rainbow colors

Every year, as part of our journey around the Sun, we experience a moment when the Sun returns to the exact degree, minute, and second of its position at the time of our birth. This moment, known as the Solar Return, marks the start of a new personal year and helps us understand the themes and lessons of the upcoming year.

The Solar Return chart is essentially a snapshot of the sky at the exact moment the Sun returns to where it was when we were born. It provides a roadmap for the year ahead, showing us the major themes for the year and potential challenges and opportunities.

The Solar Return is one of many predictive charts in astrology and is best used in conjunction with other techniques such as progressions and transits. It's even more important that it's read in conjunction with the natal chart, and the two should always be considered together. For example, the natal chart provides the foundation, while the Solar Return shows how the natal chart will manifest in the year.

Understanding the Solar Return chart can help us make the most of the year ahead, aligning our actions with the yearly energies at play and navigating potential challenges with greater ease and awareness.

Key Elements in a Solar Return Chart

Sun rising from mountains

The Solar Return chart is full of valuable information. The placement of the Sun is considered the most importance. The house of the Sun in the Solar Return chart indicates the area of life that will be most in focus for the year. For instance, if the Sun is in the 2nd house, matters related to finances and personal values will likely take center stage. Remember that the Sun sign will be the same as your natal chart since the Sun is returning to where it was when you were born.

The Ascendant of the Solar Return chart is another important factor. It represents your approach to life and how you present yourself to the world in the upcoming year. It shows what qualities life is helping you develop in the year and can indicate the theme of major changes or shifts in your life. There is only a sign associated with your ascendant, however, you can use the chart ruler of that sign to see the area of life the Ascendant sign is manifesting through.

The Moon’s position in the Solar Return reveals your emotional landscape for the year. It can indicate what you will be attuned to in the year and where you may have emotional concerns. It shows what you need for emotional security and where you're most likely to find comfort. You will likely have a different house and sign position than your natal chart since the Moon's cycle is different from the Solar cycle.

Aspects in the Solar Return also hold significant clues. Hard aspects may indicate challenges or areas of growth, while harmonious ones can show where things may flow. A chart with mostly challenging placements and aspects can indicate a year where there will be major growth and potential challenges. A well-placed chart, on the other hand, indicates a year where you are likely to find support and an easier energy to work with.

Remember, the Solar Return chart doesn't operate in isolation. The other predictive charts all interconnect to create a comprehensive picture of the year ahead. For example, if you are in a challenging first quarter progressed lunar cycle and have a supportive Solar Return you will likely face major growth that year, accompanied by the support to do so.

Relocation and Solar Returns

The Solar Return can be calculated using either the birth location or the geographical location you are at during the return. Here at MTZ we find using the birth location forms a more fundamental look at the year ahead. It appears to show how and where the soul is growing and developing in that year. However, many astrologers use the relocated Solar Return. It can be said to be more precise to where the person is literally at in the world.

This has led to the practice of 'Solar Return relocation,' where individuals travel to a specific location to influence the themes of their Solar Return chart. Preemptively finding a good location/chart for the Solar Return and then celebrating the return at that location could mean setting yourself up for a supportive year ahead.

Working with Solar Returns

Ocean with Sun in background

Working with Solar Returns is a process that involves continuous reflection and adjustment. It's not about predicting specific events but rather identifying potential themes and patterns for growth.

As the year unfolds, you can refer back to your Solar Return chart to gain insights into the experiences and situations that arise. This can help you navigate challenges with greater understanding and make the most of opportunities that come your way.

It's also beneficial to review your Solar Return chart from the previous year. Reflecting on the themes and patterns can provide valuable insights into how you've grown and evolved, helping you to understand the journey you've been on and prepare for the year ahead.

While working with Solar Returns can be profoundly insightful, it's important to approach the process with an open mind and heart. The Solar Return chart provides a roadmap, but it's up to you to navigate the journey. While there are certainly predetermined cycles in life, there is also freewill. Challenging yourself when you have a challenging Solar Return chart and using the momentum when you have an easier one is how we learn and grow the most with astrology.


Rainbow Sun rising

Solar Returns are a powerful tool in the astrological toolkit. They provide a snapshot of the yearly energies at play, offering valuable insights and guidance. By understanding and working with your Solar Return chart, you can navigate the year with greater awareness and intention, making the most of the opportunities and challenges that come your way.

As with all astrological practices, it's important to approach Solar Returns with an open mind and heart. The insights and guidance they provide are not set in stone but are a roadmap to help you navigate the year ahead. Ultimately, the choices you make and the actions you take are what will shape your experience.

Whether you're a seasoned astrologer or just beginning your astrological journey, working with Solar Returns can provide a wealth of insights and guidance. So, whether your birthday approaches or you recently had yours, why not take some time to explore your Solar Return chart and see what the year ahead may have in store for you?

To see your Solar Return you can use a 30-day trial of Prometheus astrology software. Prometheus will calculate the solar return using true sidereal astrology. For tropical and regular sidereal charts, there are many free online solar return calculators.

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